Re: Changing spells without consulting players

From: ShadowLord (
Date: 05/08/96

On Wed, 8 May 1996, Sam Taylor wrote:

> This may be none of your concern but i'm just interested to find out what 
> you all think about gods who go around changing spells and other code on 
> players without notifying them... especially when these changes really 
> stuff up the mud and get players really mad.

	I hate to say this but the players will have to live with it
unless the Gods take their ranting and extract the relevant portions.  The
only time I ever change a skill or spell is when balance dictates it.  For
instance, my former "spell coder" created a few seperate spells that
really stick out in my mind as being unbalanced and I changed:

	a. An iron skin spell which was a higher level than armor and
	   stone skin but had a worse AC affect than armor.  The players
	   didn't mind this change.

	b. The 'archmagi shield' spell was lower level than sanctuary,
	   and reflected any 'archmagi' violent spells.  Since it was
	   leaving 1/4 of the damage instead of sanctuary's 1/2, I upped
	   the level and instead of having it reflect only violent spells
	   of the 'archmagi' variety I had it reflect all 'archmagi'
	   spells, including the defensive and healing ones.

	c. The 'portal' spells; portals never wore out and didn't obey
	   !TRACKing rooms, DARK rooms, !TRACK players, etc.  This meant
	   that a player could basically do a reverse sanctuary to a
	   player stuck stumbling around in the dark and then beat the
	   living hell out of them, take their equipment and be safe w/o
	   the player ever knowing who killed them [players w/ infra
	   figured this one out and it really upset the balance because
	   when someone can't see they rarely hit (in my MUD) and often
	   miss, so a newbie could get higher level to create a portal
	   for them, then go to the dark room, and beat the living hell
	   slowly out of someone about 10 levels higher than them!  It
	   was also ridiculous how seemless portal traversing was, so I
	   am working on making different levels of portal spells that
	   insure different amounts of securitiy.  I also tagged on a
	   timer and made sure that there was portals on both sides.  I
	   will also probably make a "close portal" spell.

	In matters of balance, players will often whine and exagerate
about the slightest down-grading.  The thing is, the 'earthquake' spell
may not have been balanced for it's level that particular MUD or the GMs
may have just made a mistake, while searching for a balanced challenge
they made a class not worth playing.  They might not even realize they
missed the mark unless they try playing a newbie cleric without getting
any out-of-the-ordinary aid.

> This has just happened on the mud that i am on - not for the first time 
> either. The earthquake spell for cleric's was changed so that instead of 
> being 1/4level*(6d7+10) and using about 35 mana, it was changed to 
> something toatally useless (HEAPS less powerful) and it now uses about 85 
> mana. This chane has effectively made clerics (along with all the other 
> classes) completely useless... this combined with mob upgrades has killed 
> the mud.

	Challenge and down-grading spells/skills often go hand-in-hand.
Sometimes MUD administrators can completely ruin the balance, making the
game completely unplayable [eg., all the players are really weak and the
mobiles can cast spells, hit, and use skills -- in the case of spells they
could do a spell, hit, and skill in that order in the same combat round].
Also, I saw a MUD implement some code similar to mine for different timed
attack rounds except they made all the mobiles get rounds 0-2 seconds
apart regardless of how they were attacking, what they were wielding, or
the mobiles strength, thus, a teenage boy wielding a long sword would hit
still hit a player in intervals of 0-2 seconds while the player wielding a
broadsword wearing armor had a better chance of winning if they weren't
wearing anything, and still then they had little chance because now they
were defenseless facing a mobile that has a weapon.  Plus, too many
mobiles were equipped, even newbie mobiles had equipment that was too good
and that coupled with all the mobiles hitting fairly quickly in comparison
with the players, newbies had no chance whatsoever and anyone that was
high level before the change could no longer face someone their own level
and got fairly beat up by mobiles half their level until they could get
the two or three hits neccessary to kill them.  It made battles roughly
one sided.

	I speculate, however, that the administrators of that MUD are
still tweaking around trying to find a balance.  And that brings me to my
point.  When administrators seek to make the MUD more challenging, they
sometimes have a set plan but don't account for all the variables and over
do it.  They will eventually come around if you logically protest the
changes (eg., suggested they downgrade the mobiles or give clerics some
better combat skills at higher levels and down the level of the weakened
earthquake).  There's a thin line between Challenging and Unplayable, and
often times GMs will cross the line without realizing it.  If you come up
with good suggestions, they may be able to find the balance and keep the
game challenging, yet, playable.

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